SGarza.2-15ResponsesFromChelsea History

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''Response to Melissa R., Re: Howard (Tate text) ''

I couldn't help myself when I saw this post! Right up my alley...

''Why are we still using this approach if we know that it is not effective?'' I think I (or we? I can't remember if you were there) discussed this with Noelle at the WC and I believe it is in part due to the presence of instructors and professors who grandfathered in the traditional views about teaching and peer review. Despite the overwhelming evidence that the silent peer review (and *GASP* writing on the essay!!!) is not the best approach to peer reviewing, it is likely not going to change much until some of the older generations of professors either change their approach to peer review based on the literature that's out there or until they leave (I hope this isn't coming off as terribly harsh-- I don't mean to offend anyone). I also believe it has a lot to do with professors not knowing what the most current scholarly conversations are in terms of peer review. They may not feel it's necessary to keep current with peer review issues since it's not their specific field of study, or they may feel they way they are doing things is working just fine since we as students rarely challenge their methods. In summary, laziness or ignorance. (Ehh, this is coming off really bad... I'm not personally attacking anyone though!)


''According to Duin, may benefit from specifying objectives and usually in the form of questions (60). The questions provide writers with the ability to how their work affects . What kind of questions would you ask your students while they peer review? I think there needs to be a more structured environment for students to follow in small groups. I have been in countless situations where I have not benefited from peer review due to the practice of having my peers read my paper silently, assuming the role of the teacher. On the other hand I have witnessed the benefit of peer review when the paper is read out loud by either the writer or reader.''

I would ask my students to follow the methods used in the writing center, and have them set up conferences w/ one another, in groups of 2-3. I would have a workshop to explain and guide them through the writing tutoring process. I would instruct them to not write on one another's paper, but then I would ask them "Why do you think it's important to not write on one another's papers?" I would also advise that they not focus on grammar, and again, I would ask why this is important and what do they hope to accomplish by focusing on '' global concerns'' rather than ''local concerns'' (grammar, syntax, etc). I agree-- they do need some more structure. The WC and the beliefs valued therein can and should be used in the classroom when peer review is needed.
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I want to first look at the words you used at the beginning of your question, which are assimilation and negotiation. I feel that the word ''assimilation'' immediately implies that there is one very specific party who carries power, and another party who (a) can't have that power yet (b) wants to be accepted by and blend in with the party in power. ''Negotiation'', on the other hand, means something quite different. I believe it implies that all parties involved have power and bring something advantageous to the table, with no single party sitting at the top of the totem pole, as it were.

That being said, I ultimately agree with you that assimilation has not ended. What Bruffee says about assimilation and negotiation is more ideal than representative of reality. As we all know, it takes an act of congress to satisfactorily challenge and dethrone "traditional authorities of knowledge," and this idea assimililation and negotiation [Collaborative learning as a whole] is no exception.

As to your question, I don't know if I 100% agree that students need a combo of collaborative learning and traditional teaching simply because the two pedagogies and practices seem to be so contradictory. I do agree that students do need guidance from their teachers, but I am, and probably always will be, a firm believe of having the teacher-as-facilitator. I've always learned more in classes where the teacher did '''not''' assume the role of dispenser of knowledge but instead stepped back most of the time, let students get messy in the unknown and often scary territory of creating new knowledge, and only stepped in when absolutely needed. Those are the types of courses in which the most ''abnormal discourse'' occurred; the new knowledge created (even if the teacher already had the knowledge, but allowed the students to come upon the new knowledge on their own) seems to deeply satisfy both students and professor. Although I don't necessarily agree with your suggestion of the combination teaching style, I definitely see where you're coming from and respect that perspective. I can see benefits that pure collaborative learning simply can't offer. This post is quite lengthy already, so I'll end it here. Glad you posted this. It really got me thinking :)

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